December 19, 2009

Examination of an African Anti-Gay Domino Theory

I've (Jim) said for a long time that the best way to get someone's attention is generally to hit them in the pocket book--reach in and either take money from them or deny them funds that they were expecting.  That theory is considered as a way to mitigate the strong anti-gay sentiment in Africa in this blog post from Newsweek:

Uganda isn't the only star of the antigay show in East Africa anymore. Today, Rwanda's Parliament is also set to consider legislation that would for the first time make homosexuality a crime, punishable by five to 10 years in prison. The bill would also ban any activities that could be construed as "encouraging or sensitizing" same-sex relationships, eliminating advocacy and severely complicating medical treatment, especially for HIV/AIDS.

According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's Cary Johnson, Uganda is setting the precedent. "Other than as a result of the political and military weakness of most of its neighbors, Uganda would have no real political juice, as Kenya is recognized as the intellectual, political, and economic powerhouse of the region," Johnson said in an interview earlier this week. "Kenya should be the powerhouse that sets the pace. But Kenya has fallen on hard times politically since its election fiasco, so now it's got its own fish to fry." Filling the void, Uganda is the one asserting moral leadership in the region. Domestically, its antigay drive makes for a convenient political ploy; with a war raging in north that the government can’t contain, it's easy to gain popularity points by exploiting the myth of postcolonial attack on African masculinity. But the ploy could have international ramifications. If the law passes in Uganda, Johnson anticipates a domino effect of attempts in other countries throughout the region to tighten their legal codes.

After months of fretful postings, Box Turtle Bulletin sees signs that the international diplomatic and media-badgering campaign may be having an effect in Uganda. A senior adviser to President Yoweri Museveni recently denounced the bill in the government-owned New Vision newspaper, Uganda's largest. Today, Uganda's other main newspaper reports that Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo—a key government leader who previously spoke enthusiastically of the proposal as "an opportunity for Uganda to provide leadership where it matters most"—has backed down, pledging to remain silent about the bill until it has been passed or defeated. It's probably no coincidence that these changes have come after weeks of denouncements from political and religious figures—and, perhaps more importantly, threats to cut off aid and relocate an HIV/AIDS research center. If Ugandans were to lose their aid deals over the bill, would Rwandans think twice about pushing their own legislation through? That's a domino theory worth testing.

Click here to read more of the essay.

Encouraging Words 12/19/09-"Why Two Black D.C. Pastors Support Gay Marriage"

An encouraging essay from two black pastors in Washington, D.C. from the Washington Post:

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon a couple of years ago, we entered the sanctuary at Covenant Baptist Church and took our places in front of the altar, just as we had countless times before in our more than 20 years as partners in ministry. We had been united in holy matrimony ourselves in the same spot where we now stood to unite others.

As the couple walked down the aisle, we recalled the previous evening's rehearsal, when we commended all the participants for their courage and prayed that God would be in our midst at the ceremony. When we pronounced the couple "partners for life," we felt our prayers had been answered. It was the same feeling we had experienced so many times before when asking for God's blessing of the union of a man and a woman. Only this time, the union was of a man and a man.

Our church is the first and only traditional black church in the District of Columbia to perform same-sex unions. We conducted our first two union ceremonies, one gay and one lesbian, in the summer of 2007. The rapid political developments that followed in our nation and our city have made us optimistic that by the summer of 2010, same-sex nuptials will be not only blessed by churches such as ours, but also sanctioned by law in the District.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Encouraging Music 12/19/09 "When a Child is Born" by Johnny Mathis

SNN Recommends 12/19/09-"Jesus In the Margins: Finding God In Places That We Ignore" rating: 13 of 15 users gave at least 4 out of 5 stars
SNN rating: 4 stars

Good News Unpacked

Jesus is our ultimate model for finding identity, acceptance, and legitimacy from the Father. As we pull back the curtain on His life, we discover that Jesus knows what it’s like to be marginalized. He understands how it feels to have society shove you to the side, to not really be accepted, and in the end to be totally rejected. He can identify with life in the margins because when God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, He landed in the margins. On purpose. And He chose to land there because it’s in the margins that broken lives get mended, prisoners are set free, and the poor hear the Good News.

Reimagine Your Life

Welcome to the crowded margins of life. It’s a place where normal people don’t feel normal. Where the daily grind drowns out the soft cry within that says, “I do not have it together.” Where just beneath the surface we long for meaning and—dare we hope?—wholeness.

Rick McKinley writes from experience: Only God can rescue a person from the margins. Why? Because when He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, in the margins is where he landed. On purpose. To find you.

Don’t wait till you get yourself together. Meet Jesus in the margins just as you are, and reimagine your life through the lens of His transforming love.

Story Behind the Book

This book was birthed out of Rick’s ministry at Imago Dei Community Church. Rick’s heart is to communicate God’s Word in an understandable way to those who are outside the reach of traditional churches. He often calls this “unpacking the gospel”—a gospel he sees as the predominant theme in all of Scripture. Rick says the kind of people he ministers to “are not afraid of the language of theology, but the theological ideas need to be brought down from the mountain.”

Click here to purchase the book and read user reviews.

"Are We Really One Family?"

A moving essay from "Father Tony" at The Bilerico Project:

No matter how hard I try to understand the strife experienced by trans folks, I will always stumble in my appreciation. In this regard, a parallel can be drawn between the trans community and my Jewish friends. I don't opine about the Holocaust with them because the depth of their feeling about it is off limits to me. There are some rooms I cannot enter with them. The same is true with my trans friends.

I think the best we can do for our friends and family who have suffered something we have been spared is to grant space to such a person and to guard the door of their pain whenever they are on the other side of it. Some pain is survived but never shed. We can never say to our trans friends or our Jewish friends "Snap out of it!" as Cher said to Nicholas Cage in Moon Struck. We can never be, as was Ron Gold, dismissive of others.

There never comes a day when someone can erase an old and serious pain. Even when you look in the mirror with pride at having become the authentic person you were always meant to be, even on the day of your hardest won victories, at the finish line, you break down in tears not because the struggle is over but because the struggle is yours forever.

This undeniable fact of the human experience must be embraced and honored by all who claim to be inclusive.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Daily Devotional 12/19/09 Jesus and Santa Part 2

December 18, 2009

Uganda Pastor Wants "Forced Therapy"

LGBT people in Uganda continue to be in peril as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being considered.  One pastor's thoughts are not encouraging.  From Box Turtle Bulletin, a site that is staying on top of this developing situation.

Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, who had met several times with Saddleback pastor Rick Warren, is positively livid over Warren’s statement calling on Ugandan pastors to oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In a letter addressed to Warren (PDF: 88KB/4 pages) and obtained by Christianity Today, Ssempa acknowledges receiving a letter from Warren asking Ugandan pastors to speak out against the bill, and counters with a deliberately misleading and convoluted defense of it.

After nearly three pages of ranting, Ssempa says that two amendments will be proposed for the bill:

At a special sitting of the Uganda Joint Christian Council taskforce sat and reviewed the bill to make comments. We resolved to support the bill with some amendments which included the following:

a. We suggested a less harsher sentence of 20 years instead of the death penalty for pedophilia or aggravated homosexuality.

b. We suggested the inclusion of counseling and rehabilitation being offered to offenders and victims. The churches are willing to provide the necessary help for those who are willing to undergo counseling and rehabilitation.

his revives the forced therapy proposal brought up last March during a three-day anti-gay conference in Kampala. That conference, organized by Stephen Langa of Kampala-based Family Life Network featured Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge.

The Ugandan Parliament will reportedly bring the Anti-Homosexuality Bill up for a second reading and debate on Friday. It’s unknown whether these proposals will be brought up during debate.

There is much more of the story at Box Turtle Bulletin, including more on Rick Warren's influence.  Click here to read it.

Encouraging Words 12/18/09: "LGBT Are Our Folk Too"

An essay on a blog that focuses on African-American issues took the rare step of embracing LGBT people of color.  From "theblackbottom" via Gay Agenda.

One of the many pressing concerns within our communities is the men and women who are gay, lesbian, or, perhaps, transgendered. Their struggle is ours too. I take the position that anyone who identifies themselves as African American, those who have the historic and sociological experience of dealing with our country’s pervasive racialized history and who have collectively struggled to advance an ethnic identity that finds value in democratic inclusion, anti-racism, and cultural Africanity of the American South and the urbanity of the big cities are black. It is with this understanding that I take the position that the struggles for civil rights for LBGT communities is important to the overall freedom struggles in which African American have been historically engaged and are currently engaged in.

Black LBGT folk are our fellow religious adherents, sisters, brothers, and friends. They are not some hideous pariah class of deviant folk. They are the people whom we are in contact with on daily basis. We often eschew their concerns out of fear and ignorance. This is often couched in a religious orthodoxy that very few of us in our black communities truly adhere to in other parts of our lives. What is wildly ironic is that religious orthodoxy becomes our trump card when discussion of the rights of LBGT citizens is a topic. What is even more puzzling is the selective use of religion that is put forward to deny the civil rights and humanity of those in our community whose sexual orientation we do not understand or agree with. What is more worrisome is that we make those in our community who are LBGT exotic specimens using religion, when all religious faith call us to unity as men and women.

Click here to read the rest of this essay

Encouraging Music 12/18/09 "Blue Christmas" by Porky Pig

SNN Recommends (Just For Fun) 12/18/09-I Can Has Cheezburger

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DC Council Called Catholic Church's Bluff

From Bilerico, a press release from the Archdiocese of Washington, DC which had threatend to withold social services if a same-sex marriage bill was passed, which happened earlier this week:

Legalization of Same Sex Marriage in the Nation's Capital
Archdiocese Remains Committed to Serving Poor

December 15, 2009

Today the District of Columbia joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage to include persons of the same sex. Since this legislation was first introduced in October, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the redefinition of marriage based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, understanding the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council's interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance.

The Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities are deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This commitment is integral to our Catholic faith and will remain unchanged into the future.

Religious organizations have long been eligible to provide social services in our nation's capital and have not been excluded simply because of their religious character. This is because the choice of provider has focused on the ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently. We are committed to serving the needs of the poor and look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.

Daily Devotional 12/18/09 Jesus and Santa Part 1

December 17, 2009

Quebec Announces All-Out Fight Against Homophobia

From Edge (Boston):

The government of Quebec has studied the problem of homophobia for years and is now poised to implement new policies to move beyond "tolerance" and toward "acceptance."

Quebec Justice Minister Kathleen Weil was cited in a Dec. 11 Montreal Gazette article as saying that the aim of the program was to promote societal, as well as legal, equality. Homosexuality as decriminalized in Canada four decades ago, but homophobic attitudes persist.

Despite decades of gains for GLBT Canadians, "sexual diversity is still widely misunderstood," Quebec Premier Jean Charest writes in his introductory remarks to the newly published Quebec Policy Against Homophobia. "Cultures and mindsets remain marked by homophobic prejudice and sentiment. In families, schools and workplaces, it is not unusual for individuals to face rejection, bullying, and even violent behavior triggered by homophobia. This, in turn, forces them to keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to avoid social disapproval."

Charest’s commentary continues, "An inclusive society such as ours must take the necessary steps to combat homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns, and move towards full acceptance of sexual diversity. By introducing this Qu├ębec policy against homophobia, the government hopes to trigger a firm commitment, by institutions and the general population, to fight all forms of homophobia. The policy sets out the government’s goal of removing all the obstacles to full recognition of the social equality of the sexual minorities, at all levels of society. The message is clear: our society has everything to gain from accepting sexual diversity and fighting intolerance."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Words 12/17/09-Faith-Based Group Will Use Grant to Promote LGBT Inclusion

From via LGBTPride on Twitter:

Gays In Faith Together [GIFT] plans to use a $55,000 grant - from the Arcus Foundation - for GBLT outreach in West Michigan.

GIFT provides pastoral care, support groups for gay and lesbian youth and their family and friends, and educational seminars, including a workshop last year for gay couples on building healthy relationships.

Cara Oosterhouse, president of GIFT’s board, said the new campaign is geared toward helping local churches learn how they can be more inclusive of members of the GLBT community, their family and friends.

According to its website, GIFT sponsors programs for community members. The group also sponsors programs to help people 'further along on their life journeys'; and programs for LGBTQ youth. GIFT promotes justice and understanding through education in the wider community.

Encouraging Music 12/17/09 "While You Were Sleeping" by Casting Crowns

LGBT Helping Hands 12/17/09-Mazzoni Center (Philadelphia, PA)

Mazzoni Center is Philadelphia's LGBT health center. We are the health professionals, social workers, HIV specialists, counselors, educators, and volunteers who are leading a revolution in LGBT health care.

* We can serve your primary health care needs with a full range of medical services.

* We are a licensed mental health and substance abuse treatment provider.

* We offer case management, food bank, housing, and other support services to people with HIV.

* We accept most insurance plans for doctor's appointments. Our other services are free or on a sliding scale.

Mazzoni Center is a non-profit organization led by lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, and transgender people who are passionate about providing quality health services to people like us.

Click here to find out more.

NY Governor Extends Protection to Transgender Public Workers


New York Governor David A. Paterson issued an executive order extending anti-discrimination policies to gender identity for state employees Wednesday.

“Governor Paterson has taken significant action to advance equality for all New York state employees,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “The ability to provide for our families is non-negotiable. We applaud Governor Paterson for his commitment to the LGBT community and look forward to working with fair-minded New York legislators to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act which will protect private employees.”

An executive order prohibiting discrimination in state employment is the furthest extent to which any governor is able to exercise his or her executive power. Extending protections to private employees must be accomplished by the state legislature. New York joins eight other states in which an executive order, administrative order, or personnel regulation prohibits discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity: Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

In addition, twelve states and the District of Columbia prohibit full employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Nine more states, including New York, prohibit employment discrimination based only on sexual orientation. For an electronic map showing where employment non-discrimination stands in the states, please visit:

Daily Devotional 12/17/09 The Meaning of Christmas

December 16, 2009

A Push For Gay Rights Across Europe

From the BBC:

Gordon Brown is pushing for British civil partnerships to be recognised across the EU - including Eastern Europe, he has told Attitude magazine.

The prime minister said Britain was negotiating deals with France and Spain but wanted to "go further than that".

He told the gay lifestyle magazine it was important to show "respect for gay people was due" in "Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe".

But he predicted it would take "many years" for this to happen.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Welcome to Midweek Worship 12/16/09 One Glorious Night

Encouraging Music 12/16/09 "Whispering Hope" by Hayley Westenra

Matthew 25 Resource 12/16/09-Joy Junction (Albuquerque, NM)

Joy Junction is a place of refuge to those who have been forced into the streets. As many as 350 women, children and families count on us each day for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and an array of other services. While Joy Junction is the largest homeless shelter in New Mexico, Joy Junction is much more than a homeless shelter. We are a Gospel Rescue Mission that is committed to restoring precious lives which have been forgotten and abandoned by society.

Joy Junction is a full-service human reclamation plant that opens its doors to virtually anyone who desires help, ministering to the needs of the body, soul and spirit. We provide hope for the hopeless, and a hand-up to teach the skills necessary to allow our residents to return to employment and mainstream society.

For some twenty-three years we have been leading our residents through recovery and a return to the mainstream. Our Life Recovery Program, which is also known as C. I. P. P. (Christ in Power Program), has taken many hundreds of our residents through the recovery process and introduced them in a personal way to Jesus their Savior. When ready, those who have successfully completed the CIPP program are provided further opportunities to enhance their likelihood of successfully returning to the mainstream, and becoming a contributing member of society.

Click here to find out more.

"The Salvation Army - Naughty or Nice?"

What's more important, an organization's good works or their homophobia? From our perspective, there are groups that do good works without condemning LGBT people and that's where we want our donations to go. How do you feel? Here's a perspective from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The halls aren't the only thing getting decked this holiday season.

The Salvation Army, the country's biggest charity, is taking it full on the chin from a social media network mobilized against the organization's position on homosexuality and other social sins. Twitter, Facebook and gay Web sites are lit up with protest and calls for donor boycotts.

The Army's official same-sex statement suggests it's unlikely those cheery volunteers ringing bells over red kettles will be donning gay apparel anytime soon.

Daily Devotional 12/16/09 Merry Christmas

December 15, 2009

DC Council Gives Final Approval to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

It's nice to see the city where I (Jim) was born and spend my days working has taken this great step toward equality.  Congratulations to our LGBT brothers and sisters in the Nation's Capital!  Here's the report from the Washington Post:

The D.C. Council gave final approval Tuesday to a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, setting off a wave of excitement in the gay community even as opponents vow to continue the fight on Capitol Hill.

The bill, approved by a vote of 11 to 2, will now go to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who is expected to sign it before Christmas. The bill will become law in the spring if it survives a 30-day legislative review period.

After the vote, dozens of same-sex marriage supporters rose to their feet and began cheering in the council chamber, despite council rules prohibiting public demonstrations.

"In many ways, this is the final prize," said council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), one of two openly gay council members.

To block the legislation, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and President Obama would all have to sign off on a disapproval resolution within 30 legislative days, which advocates say is not likely.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Words 12/15/09: An Episcopalian Bishop Favors Marriage Equality in NJ

From the Newark, NJ Star Ledger:

As a husband of 28 years and as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, which has 110 congregations in eight counties in northern New Jersey, I strongly support the marriage equality initiative.

On Dec. 3 in Trenton, I joined 650 people (many of whom were clergy from a variety of faiths), to witness to the need for marriage equality.

I pray that the marriage bill passes so that all couples who have who have engaged in a lifelong union can have their unions recognized. Homosexuality is not an issue of lifestyle; it is a matter of identity. We don’t choose our identity; we are challenged to claim our identity as God’s gift to us.

Click here to read the rest of Bishop Beckwith's essay.

Encouraging Music 12/15/09 "Christmas Medley" by The Chipmunks

LGBT Helping Hands 12/15/09-GLBT Community Center of Baltimore & Central MD

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB, or, the Center) seeks to achieve equality, understanding, and respect for the diversity of the greater Baltimore GLBT community while also providing quality support services, facilities, and professional resources for the development and well-being of individuals and groups.

Since 1977 the Center has touched the lives of generations through equality advocacy, social events, benefits, support groups, and health forums. The GLCCB furthers its impact by collaborating with community organizations that address a variety of health, recovery, mental health, legal, political, and social issues.
Click here to find out more.

Has Everyone's Mind Been Made Up on Same-Sex Marriage?

From the Huffington Post:

I found myself in a conversation at a friend's home with a man I just met. Small talk turned to the New York Senate's defeat of the marriage equality bill.

Given the crowd, I was surprised when he said he was "thrilled" by the defeat. I was surprised again when he said "I believe in equality. But not this. To be honest with you, I have a problem with the whole [pause to find the acceptable words] gay thing."

A friend's home not being the place for what could become a high-decibel exchange, I excused myself and walked away thinking: There you have it. This is what same-sex marriage is up against.

It might be about constitutionality. It might be about state's rights. It might be about the definition of marriage. But it is also very clearly about members of a majority withholding rights from members of a minority that they simply don't like.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Daily Devotional 12/15/09 Hide and Seek

From: From His Heart

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him. Matthew 2:2

Recently, I read about a skeleton found in the attic of an old dormitory at Texas A&M University. The skeleton was in a crouched position, found behind some old filing cabinets. After some research university officials found out that skeleton was the remains of Ralph Schmidtt, the Hide and Seek champion from 1949. I think old Ralph may have carried the game a bit too far, don’t you?

Seriously, do you remember playing Hide and Seek as a kid? I sure do. Growing up with three sisters and two brothers, we played that game a lot. It was great fun… especially when you were “it” and finally found someone. The game lost its luster if all of the hiders were like old Ralph – impossible to find.


Did you know that God likes to play Hide and Seek? He hides and wants us to seek after Him… but He purposely does not hide all that well. You see, He wants us to find Him. He says in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

The magi (wise men in Matthew 2) traveled many miles seeking the King of the Jews. Some suppose that these men came from Babylon and traveled as far as 1000 miles to see Jesus and worship Him. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were told that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, only five miles to the south.

Amazingly, as they departed for the last five miles of their 1000 mile trek, not one scribe or Pharisee or chief priest or religious leader even bothered to come with them and check out their story. Their long awaited Messiah was supposedly born, and not one person joined the search. Why not? They were too busy “doing church” and going about the demands of their lives to take the time to go five miles to Bethlehem. They were too busy to seek Him… and after all, they did not really believe they would find Him anyway… so why bother?


Are you too busy to seek Him? Do you think it is a waste of time and an exercise in futility? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus wants you to seek Him with all your heart and start making Him the priority of your life. He wants you to start your day in His Word. He wants you to call Him up in prayer upon awakening… and then never hang up the line (that is what it means to pray without ceasing). He wants you to search for Him like you would search for a valuable diamond lost in your house.

If you will seek Him like that, you will find Him. He wants you to find Him. Imagine that… finding the great God of the universe who has all power and loves you with all His heart.

May you find this Christmas, not the gift under the tree, but the God who hung on a tree just for you!!

December 14, 2009

Lost to AIDS, But Still Friended

From the New York Times:

LIKE millions of other Americans, Dominic Bash has a Twitter account, an online wall and a network of friends on the Web. His Facebook-style profile features Mr. Bash’s occupation as a hairdresser at the Abbey in Philadelphia, lists his birthday, the names of good friends, his interests and hobbies. It pictures him at his most typical and outrageous — at a Philadelphia gay pride parade, dressed in a lavender feather boa, his long blond hair styled in a braid reminiscent of Madonna, in her Heidi phase.

Mr. Bash’s profile also contains information less customary on social networking sites: the date of his death. Mr. Bash, 46 when he died in 1993, was a member of what a friend refers to as a lost generation of gay men, among the many who died of AIDS before the development of antiretroviral drugs rendered H.I.V. treatable.

“There is a real hunger for information about this period, this history and these lost lives,” said that friend, Chris Bartlett, a former classics scholar who has set out to rescue the memories of those lives, specifically 4,600 gay Philadelphia men who perished of AIDS in the 1980s and ’90s. While the memorializing impulse is ancient, the method Mr. Bartlett came up with is as new as the latest app; he has created a social networking site for the dead.

Encouraging Music 12/14/09 "Ave Maria" by Celtic Women

Matthew 25 Resource 12/14/09-Boise (ID) Rescue Mission Ministries

Since 1958 the Boise Rescue Mission has been serving the community by meeting the spiritual, physical and psychological needs of the homeless and near-homeless who live in our community and those who pass through on a daily basis.

The Boise Rescue Mission provides food, clothing and shelter for homeless and needy men, women and children 365 days a year.

Over the years, we have also implemented educational and counseling programs to provide opportunities for healing, growth, and employment for the homeless population.

Volunteers are an essential part of every program at Boise Rescue Mission Ministries. We have opportunities for individuals and groups alike at all of our facilities. We are in need of volunteers in various areas throughout the year. There is a place for everyone to give of their time to those in need.

Click here to find out more.

"Links In a Chain"

Here's a good reminder of the importance of historical perspective from QSaltLake:

Recently, I was interviewed by Seth Bracken, a promising young reporter with Utah State University’s student newspaper, for a story he was doing on gay male parents. I found his enthusiasm and desire to write a positive gay story refreshing.

As we talked, it became clear to me how different our lives were as gay men. No, not because I have kids and he doesn’t. Not because he and his boyfriend probably go dancing on Friday nights while I’m sitting on the couch watching a Disney flick with the boys.

No, our lives are different because at literally half my age, Seth’s experiences are shaped by four decades of gay and lesbian rights.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Daily Devotional 12/14/09 God Bless Us, Every One

From: Reflections

Romans 12:10, NIV: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

The Holidays often take us to the houses of relatives, or brings them to our own houses. The gathering of loved ones can be something that adds so much more than what we might have alone. So much more love, so much more joy, so much more sharing—so much more noise and confusion, so much more of lots of things that can keep life interesting and perhaps increase the stress level a little. But within the midst of the good, and the sometimes not so good, there is always the potential for God to bless us--everyone. Where will the Holidays take you? Wherever it may be, there is opportunity afforded to you to become a blessing to those around you. Jesus told us that as we have treated others, so also we have treated Him. What better gift to give Jesus this year than to go out of your way to be a blessing to others. Merry Christmas.

December 13, 2009

Houston Elects Out Lesbian Mayor

Congratulations to Annise Parker, the new Mayor-Elect of Houston.  While the fact she is an out lesbian is historic in nature, lets hope that fades over time and she is better known for her accomplishments in office.  Here is a report by the Dallas Voice:

Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston Saturday night, Dec. 12, with 53 percent of the votes cast in the runoff election that saw turnout of only about 16.5 percent.

The win makes her the first openly gay or lesbian person elected mayor in one of the country's 10 largest cities. With a population of more than about 2,245,000, Houston is the nation's fourth-largest city.

Parker and Gene Locke virtually tied the early voting. But on Election Day, Parker had a large get-out-the-vote organization that made the difference in the final tally, and her campaign workers remained confident of victory throughout the evening.

LGBT Helping Hands 12/13/09-Gay Mens' Health Crisis

Who We Are

GMHC is the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. Building on decades of dedication and expertise, we understand the reality of HIV/AIDS and empower a healthy life for all.

What We Believe

* With the right information, care and support, it is possible to live a healthy, fulfilling life.
* When people feel a sense of community, are empowered with pride and armed with information, they’re able to model healthy behaviors, build relationships and experience hope.
* To end the AIDS epidemic, we need comprehensive solutions that promote education, increase awareness, improve care, reduce stigma, elevate policy and build strong, supportive communities.

Support for Same-Sex Marriage in NJ Strong Among Catholics, Jews

From PinkNews:
A poll of Catholic voters in the US state of New Jersey has shown that just under half are in favour of gay marriage.

The state's Senate was due to vote on a gay marriage bill today but this has stalled after Democrats said they wanted to strengthen support.

There are fears they do not have the 21 votes needed to pass it.

The poll from Rutgers-Eagleton surveyed 903 people in early November, asking them about their religious beliefs and views on marriage equality.

Among Catholics, 48 per cent supported gay marriage, while 40 per cent opposed it and 12 per cent were undecided.

Welcome to Sunday Worship 12/13/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.
Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.
If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us."> name="WMode" value="Window">

Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)VIDEOFL-Potters'>">FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AMAL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 12:00 AMNC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PMFL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry, 12:00 PMOK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PMCA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PMWA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PMCanada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver 9:00 PM
AUDIOCanada'>">Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PMFL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM
Video Archive
AL-Covenant Community Church, BirminghamCA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long BeachFL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. LauderdaleFL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, CasselberryFL-New'>">FL-New Hope Christian Center, PensacolaFL-Potters House International Fellowship, TampaGA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, AtlantaGA-New Covenant Church of AtlantaNC-Church'>">NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-SalemOK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma CityOK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, TulsaTX-The One Church, GarlandWA-Living Water Fellowship, KenmoreCanada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver
Audio ArchiveAZ-Community Church of Hope, PhoenixAK-Open Door Community Church, SherwoodCA-Christ Chapel of Long BeachCA-Christ Chapel of the Valley, North HollywoodFL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program)FL-Body of Christ Church of God, LargoFL-New Hope Christian Center, PensecolaGA-New Covenant Church of AtlantaKY-Covenant Community Church, LouisvilleMD-Kittamaqundi Community, ColumbiaNC-Revolution CharlotteOH-Emmanuel Fellowship Church, AkronOH-All Saints Community Church, CortlandTN-Covenant of the Cross, MadisonTX-New'>">TX-New Hope Fellowship Church, DallasTX-White Rock Community Church, DallasTX-Community Gospel Church, HoustonTX-Through Him Fellowship, HoustonUT-Glory'>">UT-Glory to God Christian Church, OgdenSouth Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church
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